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11 Easy Crock Pot Recipes

  • Bill Bettencourt

    Barbecue-Style Brisket

    Ingredients:

    Flour,  ¼ cup (1½ oz/45 g)
    black pepper
    Beef brisket, 3½–4 lb (1.75–2 kg), trimmed of excess fat
    Olive oil, ¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml)
    Yellow onions, 2, thinly sliced
    Garlic, 2 cloves, minced
    Cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon
    Beef broth, 1 cup (8 fl oz/250  ml)
    Red wine vinegar,½ cup (4 fl oz/125 ml)
    Sugar, ? cup (3 oz/90 g)
    Tomato paste, 2 tablespoons

    Serves 6-8 

    1. Brown the brisket

    On a large plate, stir together the flour, 1 teaspoon  salt, and  ½ teaspoon black pepper. Coat the brisket evenly with the flour mixture, shaking off the excess; reserve the remaining flour mixture. In a large frying pan over high heat, warm the oil. Add the brisket, fattier side down, and cook until browned on the bottom, about 7 minutes. Turn the brisket over and brown the second side, about 7 minutes longer. Transfer the brisket, fat side up, to the slow cooker.

    2. Sauté the vegetables

    Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon fat from the frying pan and return the pan to medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, and cayenne and sauté until the onions begin to turn translucent, 2–3 minutes. Stir in the reserved flour mixture and cook for 1 minute longer. Pour in the broth and vinegar. Raise the heat to high, bring to a boil, and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up the browned bits on the pan bottom. Add the sugar and tomato paste and stir until evenly blended. Pour over the brisket.

    3. Cook the brisket

    Cover and cook on the high-heat setting for 3–4 hours or the low-heat setting for 6–8 hours.  The meat should be very tender when pierced with a fork. Transfer the brisket to a cutting board. Cover with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, skim off the excess fat from the surface of the sauce. Slice the meat across the grain. Spoon the sauce over the meat and serve.

  • Bill Bettencourt

    Beef-Chipotle Chili

    Ingredients:

    Flour,  ¼ cup (1½ oz/45 g)
    Salt and freshly ground pepper
    Boneless beef chuck, 3 lb (1.5 kg), trimmed of excess fat and cut into chunks
    Olive oil, 4–6  tablespoons (2–3 fl oz/60–90 ml)
    Dried oregano, 1½  teaspoons
    Garlic, 4 cloves, minced
    Red onions, 2, finely chopped
    Beef broth, 2 cups (16  fl oz/500 ml)
    Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, 1 can (7 oz/220 g)

    Serves  6 – 8

    1. Brown the beef

    In a resealable plastic bag, combine the flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Add the beef chunks and shake to coat evenly with the flour mixture; reserve the excess flour mixture. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm 4 tablespoons (2  fl oz/60 ml) of the  oil. Add half of the beef chunks and cook, turning as needed, until evenly browned on all sides, 10–12 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain briefly, and then transfer to the slow cooker. Repeat with the remaining beef chunks, adding the remaining 2 tablespoons oil if needed. Sprinkle the oregano over the meat.

    2. Sauté the vegetables

    Return the pan to medium-high heat. Add the garlic and all but about  ½ cup (2½ oz/75 g) of the  onions and  sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with the reserved flour mixture and sauté for about 1 minute longer. Pour in the broth and add the chipotle chiles with their sauce, breaking up the chiles coarsely with your fingers. Raise the heat to high, bring to a boil, and deglaze the pan,  stirring to scrape  up the browned bits on the pan  bottom.  Pour over the beef.

    3. Cook the chili

    Cover and cook on the high-heat setting for 3–4 hours or the low-heat setting for 6–8 hours. The beef should be very tender. Spoon the chili into bowls, sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup chopped onion, and serve.

  • Bill Bettencourt

    Beef Stew with Bacon

    Ingredients:

    Thick-cut bacon, 4 oz (125 g), chopped
    Flour, 3 tablespoons
    Salt and freshly ground pepper
    Boneless beef chuck, 3 lb (1.5 kg), trimmed of excess fat and cut into chunks
    Fresh cremini mushrooms, ¾ lb (375 g), halved if large
    Baby carrots, ½ lb (250 g)
    Frozen pearl onions, ½ lb (250 g)
    Garlic, 3 cloves, minced
    Dry red wine, 1 cup (8 fl oz/250  ml)
    Beef broth, 1 cup (8 fl oz/250  ml)
    Tomato paste, 2 tablespoons
    Fresh rosemary, 1 tablespoon  minced

    Serves 6

    1. Cook the bacon

    In a large frying pan over medium heat, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 5–7 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off the drippings into a small heatproof bowl, leaving about 1 tablespoon drippings in the pan. Set the pan, reserved drippings, and bacon aside.

    2. Brown the beef

    In a resealable plastic bag, combine the flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Add the beef chunks and shake to coat evenly with the flour mixture. Return the frying pan to medium-high heat.  When the drippings are hot, add half of the beef chunks and cook, turning once, until well browned, about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer the beef to the slow cooker. Repeat with the remaining beef chunks, adding the reserved drippings if needed. Scatter the mushrooms, carrots, onions, and garlic on top.

    2. Cook the stew

    Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the wine, broth, and tomato paste. Mix well, bring to a boil, and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up the browned bits on the pan bottom.  Pour the contents of the pan over the vegetables and beef.  Cover and cook on the high-heat setting for 4–5 hours or the low-heat setting for 8–9 hours. The beef should be very tender. Stir in the reserved bacon and the rosemary. Cook, uncovered, on the high-heat setting for 10 minutes longer to thicken the sauce slightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

  • Bill Bettencourt

    Butternut Squash Soup

    Ingredients:

    Unsalted butter, 4 tablespoons  (2 oz/60 g)
    Yellow onion, 1, chopped
    Ginger, 2-inch (5-cm) piece, peeled and grated
    Ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon
    Ground nutmeg, ? teaspoon
    Butternut squash, 2, about 4 lb (2 kg) total weight, peeled and cut into chunks
    Brown sugar, 1 tablespoon
    Salt and ground white pepper
    Vegetable broth, 4 cups (32  fl oz/1  l)
    Sour  cream, ½ cup (4 oz/125 g)
    Fresh chives or flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, chopped, for garnish

    Serves 6 – 8

    1. Sauté the vegetables

    In a frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute longer.

    2. Cook the soup

    Put the squash chunks in the slow cooker and sprinkle with the brown sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon white pepper. Pour the contents of the frying pan over the squash and add the broth. Cover and cook on the high-heat setting for 3 hours or the low-heat setting for 6 hours.

    3. Finish the soup

    Using a blender or food processor, working in batches, process the squash mixture to a smooth purée. Return the soup to the slow cooker  to keep  warm  until serving. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls, garnish with a dollop of the sour cream and the chives, and serve.

  • Bill Bettencourt

    Bolognese Sauce

    Ingredients:

    Olive oil, 2 tablespoons
    Pancetta, 2 oz (60 g), chopped
    Yellow onions, 2 small, finely chopped
    Carrots, 2 finely chopped
    Celery, 1 stalk, finely chopped
    Ground (minced) beef, 3 lb (1.5 kg)
    Beef broth, 2 cups (16 fl oz/500ml)
    Dry red wine, 1 1/2 cups (12 fl oz/375 ml)
    Crushed plum (Roma) tomatoes, 1 can (28 oz/875 g)
    Milk, 1/2 cup (4 fl oz/125 ml)
    Salt and freshly ground pepper

    Fettuchini, 1 lb (500g)

    Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup (2 oz/60g) freshly grated

    1. Sauté the ingredients

    In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the pancetta and sauté until it begins to render its fat, about 1 minute. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until it is no longer red, about 7 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker. Add the broth and wine to the pan and raise the heat to high. Bring to a boil and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up the browned bits on the pan bottom. Pour the liquid into the slow cooker along with the tomatoes and stir to continue.  

    2. Cook the sauce

    Cover and cook the sauce on a high-heat setting for 4 hours or the low-heat setting for 8 hours. Add the milk, stirring to combine. Cover and continue cooking for 20 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    3. Cook the pasta

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons salt and the pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until al dente, according to the package directions. Drain, return the pasta to the pot, and toss gently with 2 cups (16 fl oz/500 ml) of the sauce. Serve, passing the Pamesan at the table.

    A robust ragù gains in flavor by spending hours simmering in a slow cooker. This recipe yields a big batch so that you can eat it for dinner tonight, and freeze the rest for additional dishes.

     

  • Bill Bettencourt

    Grilled Flank Steak with White Beans

    Ingredients:

    White beans, 4 cups (1 3/4 lb/875 g)
    Flank steak, 2 lb (1 kg), trimmed of excess fat
    Salt and freshly ground pepper
    Fresh chives or parsley, 1/3 cup (1/2 oz/15 g) minced
    Baby arugula, 2 cups (2 oz/60 g)
    Olive oil, for drizzling
    Parmesan cheese, 1/4-lb (125-g) wedge

    Lemon, 1, cut into wedges

    Serves 4

    1. Cook the steak

    Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for direct-heat grilling over high heat and oil the grill rack. Or, preheat a broiler (grill). Season the steak on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the steak on the grill rack or put it on a broiler pan and place under the broiler. Cook, turning once, for 5-7 minutes on each side for medium-rare, or until done to your liking.

    2. Warm the beans

    While the steak is cooking, in a saucepan over medium heat, warm the beans, stirring frequently, until heated through, about 2 minutes.

    3. Finish the dish

    When the steak is ready, transfer it to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let it rest for about five minutes. Spoon one-fourth of the hot beans onto each plate, and sprinkle with the chives. Slice the steak across the grain. Arrange some of the slices on top of each mound of beans, top with the arugula, and drizzle with olive oil. Using a vegetable peeler, cut thin shavings of Parmesan cheese onto each serving. Garnish with the lemon wedges and serve.

  • Bill Bettencourt

    Italian Pot Roast

    Ingredients:

    Flour, 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz/45 g)
    Salt and freshly ground pepper
    Boneless beef chuck, 4 1lb (2 kg), trimmed of excess fat and tied
    Olive oil, 1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml)
    Garlic, 4 cloves, minced
    Dry red wine, 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml)
    Whole plum (Roma) tomatoes, 1 can (28 oz/875 g) drained
    Dried oregano, 1 tablespoon
    Sugar, 2 teaspoons
    Bay leaves, 2
    Fresh basil, 1/4 cup (1/3 oz/10 g) slivered

    Serves 6-8

    1. Brown the pot roast

    On a large plate, stir together the flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Coat the beef evenly with the flour mixture, shaking off the excess; reserve the remaining flour mixture. In a large frying pan over high heat, warm the oil. Add the roast and brown it well on all sides, 12-15 minutes total. Tranfer the roast to the slow cooker.

    2. Deglaze the pan

    Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon fat from the frying pan and return the pan to medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for a few seconds until fragrant. Sprinkle with the reserved flour mixture and cook, stirring, about 1 minute longer. Pour in the red wine and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up the browned bits on the pan bottom. Pour over the roast.

    3. Cook the pot roast

    Using your hands, break up the tomatoes as you add them to the slow cooker. Add the oregano, sugar, and bay leaves. Cover and cook on the high-heat setting for 3-4 hours or the low-heat setting for 6-8 hours. The meat should be very tender when pierced with a fork. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Transfer the roast to a cutting board and remove the strings. Cover with aluminum foil and let rest for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, skim off and discard the excess fat from the surface of the sauce. Stir in the basil. Slice the roast across the grain and arrange the slices on a platter or individial plates. Spoon the sauce over the meat and serve.

  • Bill Bettencourt

    Penne with Ratouille

    Ingredients:

    Rataoille:

    Olive oil, 1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml)
    Yellow onions, 4, chopped
    Garlic, 4 cloves, chopped
    Plum (Roma) tomatoes, 10, halved, seeded, and cut into chunks
    Zucchini (courgettes), 6 medium, cut into chunks
    Eggplants (aubergines), 2 medium, trimmed and cut into chunks
    Red bell peppers (capsicums), 3 large, seeded and cut into chunks
    Vegetable broth, 1/2 cup (4 fl oz/120 ml)
    Fresh thyme and fresh oregano, 1 teaspoon each minced
    Salt and ground pepper

    Penne, 1 lb (500 g)

    Serves 4

    1. Make the ratatoille

    In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until tender but not brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker. Add the tomatoes, zucchini, eggplants, bell peppers, broth, thyme, oregano, and 2 teaspoons each salt and pepper to the slow cooker. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on the high-heat setting for 4 hours or the low-heat setting for 8 hours. Set aside 2 cups (12 oz/375 g) of the ratatouille, and store the rest for later use.

    2. Cook the pasta

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons salt and the pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until al dente, according to the package directions. Drain the pasta, return it to the pot, and toss with the 2 cups of ratatouille. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

    The flavor of this rustic Provencal stew mingle perfectly in the gentle heat of a slow cooker. This recipe yields enough for dinner tonight plus the dishes on the following pages.

  • Bill Bettencourt

    Pulled Pork

    Ingredients:

    Canola or corn oil, 3 tablespoons
    Boneless pork shoulder, 4 lb (2 kg), cut into 3 equal pieces
    Yellow onion, 1, finely chopped
    Cider vinegar, 3/4 cup (6 fl oz/180 ml)
    Tomato ketchup, 3/4 cup (6 fl oz/185 g)
    Brown sugar, 1/3 cup (2 1/2 oz/75 g) firmly packed
    Light molasses, 1/4 cup (2 3/4 oz/80g)
    Red pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons
    Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon
    Dry mustard, 1 teaspoon
    Salt and freshly ground pepper
    Soft sandwich rolls, split and toasted, for serving

    Serves 6-8

    1. Brown the pork

    In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the pork pieces and brown well on all sides, about 12 minutes total. Transfer the pork to the slow cooker.

    2. Make the sauce and cook the pork

    Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon fat from the frying pan and return the pan to medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up the browed bits on the pan bottom. Stir in the ketchup, brown sugar, molasses, red pepper flakes, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occassionally, just until the mixture begins to bubble. Pour over the pork. Cover and cook on the high-heat setting for 4-5 hours or the low-heat setting for 8-10 hours. The pork should be very tender.

    3. Shred the pork and serve

    Transfer the pork pieces to a platter. Using a pair of forks, shred each piece of pork, removing and discarding any large pieces of fat. Skim off the excess fat from the surface of the sauce and return the pulled pork to the sauce. Stir together to combine. Serve the pork and sauce atop the sandwich rolls.

     

     

     

     

     

  • Bill Bettencourt

    Roasted Eggplant Lasagna

    Bolognese Sauce, 3 cups (24 fl oz/750 ml)
    Eggplants (aubergines), 2, about 1 1/2 lb (750 g) total weight, cut crosswise into slices 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick
    Olive oil, for brushing
    Salt and freshly ground pepper
    Fresh mozzarella cheese, 1 lb (500 g), sliced
    Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup (2 oz/60 g) freshly grated
    Fresh basil, 1/4 cup (1 oz/30 g) slivered

    Serves 4-6

    1. Roast the eggplant

    Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°). Brush the eggplant slices with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and place on 2 baking sheets. Roast, turning once, until the slices are nicely browned, about 20 minutes total.

    2. Layer the eggplant

    Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat, warm the Bolognese sauce. Reduce the oven temperature to 375° (190° C). Spead the bottom of a 10-by-12-inch (25-by-30-cm) baking dish with a large spoonful of the sauce. Lay one-third of the eggplant slices on the bottom of the dish, overlapping them slightly. Top with 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) of the sauce and one-third of the mozzarella slices. Repeat to make 2 more layers. Sprinkle the Parmesan on top.

    3. Bake the eggplant

    Bake the eggplant lasagna until warmed through and the cheese is melted, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Serve, garnished with basil.

  • Bill Bettencourt

    Split Pea Soup with Ham

    Olive oil, 2 tablespoons
    Yellow onion, 1 finely chopped
    Garlic, 2 cloves, minced
    Smoked ham hock, 1 about 1 1/2 lb (750 g)
    Green split peas, 1 lb (500 g), picked over and rinsed
    Carrots, 3, chopped
    Celery, 2 stalks, chopped
    Chicken broth, 6 cups (48 fl oz/1.5 l)
    Dried thyme, 1 teaspoon
    Salt and freshly ground pepper
    Fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, 1/2 cup (3/4 oz/20 g) chopped

    Serves 6-8

    1. Cook the soup

    In a frying pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and garlic and sauteé until softened, 4-5 minutes. Put the ham hock in the center of the slow cooker and spread the split peas around it. Add the sautéed onion and garlic, the carrots, and the celery. Add the broth, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cover and cook on the high-heat setting for 4-5 hours or the low-heat setting for 8-10 hours, until the peas are very tender.

    2. Finish the soup

    Transfer the ham hock to a platter or cutting board and let cool until it can be handled, about 15 minutes. Using your fingers or a knife and fork, remove the meat from the bone, shredding or cutting the meat into bite-sized pieces. Stir the meat back into the soup along with the parsley. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

     

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